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|Mansion Justifies Death Penalty For Armed Robbers|
|Published on July 25, 2008||Email To Friend Print Version
Though global human right organization, Amnesty International, has reacted to the “death penalty for armed robbery law” signed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, saying it violates international protocols to which Liberia is signatory, the Executive Mansion has rather provided justification for the law.
On Tuesday, July 22, 2008 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed into law “An Act to amend chapters 14 &15 Sub-Chapter (c), Title 26 of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised, known as the New Panel Code Law of 1976, by adding thereto four new sections thereby making the crimes of armed robbery, terrorism and Hijacking, respectively, Capital offences, and providing punishment thereof.”
Section 15.34 (4) of this Act provides that “In the event death occurs during the commission of a crime of Armed Robbery, Terrorism or Hijacking, the accused convicted under Sections 14.54, 15.32 and 15.33 of this Act shall be sentenced to death by hanging or imprisonment for life without possibility of parole”.
The Mansion said the President is fully cognizant that Liberia as a State Party is a signatory to the UN’s Second Optional Protocol aiming at the abolition of the Death Penalty commonly known as the ‘Second Optional Protocol’.
However, she shares the view and responded to the appeal of the majority of the people for a robust response to the increasing level of crime involving robberies that include physical assault rape and murder by robbers who attack innocent citizens, thereby creating panic and a confidence crisis in the society.
The President is committed to revisiting the Act for possible amendment as soon as the situation is brought fully under control and sustainable peace is assured.
Critics of the law said the Liberian government is sponsoring state killings, but most Liberians heartedly support the Act as a result of atrocities being rained on them by armed robbers.
Supporters feel this is the best way to curtail the rising wave of armed robbery, by eliminating those caught and found guilty, to serve as preclusion to those who intend to engage in the devilish misdemeanor.
Margibi County Representative in the House of Representatives, Saah Gbollie, said in a wake to provide security protection to the people of Liberia International protocol must be relaxed in order to seek the interest of the people of the country.
Speaking to reporters Monday at a one-day interactive forum organized by ECOWAS Civil Society Movement of Liberia in Monrovia, Rep. Gbollie said “foreign policy is an extension of domestic policy” of any nation. Therefore; he said, in the wake of national threat and a threat to the vital interest of the country, the domestic policy supersedes any International Instrument.
He said despite Liberia being a signatory to the International protocol to the abolition of death penalty and capital punishment, Liberia has a situation where the sovereignty of the nation is at stake - to the extent that armed robbers would choose to terrorize the people of this nation. He said the domestic viability of the country is of vital interest and supersedes any International Protocol. He said lawmakers acted to secure the lives of their people, by passing the anti-robbery bill.
There has been no official response from the government on Amnesty’s opposition to the Anti-robbery act which most Liberians support.